I’m very proud to announce today more must-see speakers for GamesBeat 2014, our game-industry conference that takes place Sept. 15 and Sept. 16 at the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel in San Francisco.
Our next speakers include:
Peter Molyneux, the founder of development house 22cans. In a career that spans four decades of landmark games, Molyneux is one of the most recognizable faces in the industry and is considered to be one of the most innovative, celebrated, and sometimes controversial figures in game design. He was the former creative director of Microsoft Games Europe, the founder and CEO of Bullfrog Productions, Lionhead Studios, and now 22cans.
Molyneux has created blockbuster games including Populous, Theme Park, Syndicate, Theme Hospital, Dungeon Keeper, Black & White, and the Fable franchise. His work has granted him multiple Lifetime Achievement Awards from various sources such as BAFTA, GDC Awards, and the Academy for the Interactive Arts and Sciences. He’s an elder statesman of gaming, but he feels like he is just getting started.
His most recent endeavor, 22cans, stepped into the casual gamer sector with the controversial social experiment Curiosity: What’s inside the cube, which led to an Online Innovation award at the Develop Awards in 2013. It trended worldwide on Twitter upon it’s hotly anticipated conclusion. Now he has released something that he considers to be the greatest game he’s yet made: Godus. It’s his return to the god game genre, which critics claim he created at the start of his career, and brings it to a whole new audience in the age of casual gamers and smartphones. Molyneux has criticized free-to-play game monetization before for ripping off gamers, but now he’s launched his own free-to-play game.
Geoff Keighley, the host of Spike’s GTTV and the executive in charge of game publisher relations at Spike TV, will moderate a session with Molyneux. The session is “What Godus has taught me about game design and monetization.”
Clive Downie, the chief operating officer of Zynga, oversees the company’s worldwide operations and execution. Downie has more than 20 years of international experience in console and free-to-play mobile games, and he an extensive history leading teams and publishing hit global game franchises and services.
Prior to joining Zynga, Downie held several leadership positions at DeNA, the big Japanese leader in mobile social gaming services. Most recently, he served as chief executive officer of DeNA West, the company’s American and European division. In that role, Downie oversaw the company’s mobile social game platform, Mobage West, and also managed DeNA’s Western third-party business and first-party game studios in San Francisco, Vancouver, and Chile. Prior to that, Downie was vice president of studios, managing DeNA’s internal studios in North America and Europe, and the Vice President of Marketing and Revenue at Ngmoco, a mobile game company acquired by DeNA in October 2010.
I will moderate Downie’s fireside chat, “Building enduring franchises in a hits-driven business.” Zynga has had its challenges on that front, and it is investing heavily in its shift to mobile games. Zynga wants to transform its business by focusing on consumers, quality, and a more diversified games portfolio across mobile and Web — and deals with the NFL and Tiger Woods are just the first step. Find out how it plans to win.
David Helgason, chief executive and cofounder of Unity Technologies, is also a featured speaker at GamesBeat 2014. Helgason is a technologist and a visionary. He cofounded Unity in 2003 with the vision of democratizing game development. As mobile games took off, Unity became the platform of choice for big corporations and indie developers alike. Now it has evolved into a cross-platform game engine with a suite of services — such as monetization and analytics — that game developers need to make their games succeed on console, PCs, handhelds, and mobile.
Now, hundreds of thousands of developers are using the platform every month, spending millions of hours with the engine. Slowly, Unity has been eating away at the market of the once-dominant 3D game engines, making its way into the core of the game industry with the launch of Unity 5. Helgason has a unique perspective on what it takes to conquer the world, and that fits nicely with our theme of “Total World Domination.”
He will open our conference with a fireside chat on “The future of game platforms and indie gaming.”
Our previously announced speakers include:
- Jonathan Simpson-Bint, the chief revenue officer at Twitch
- Malathi Nayak, a reporter for Reuters
- Bob Meese, the global head of game business development at Google Play
- Lucy Bradshaw, a senior vice president of the Maxis label at Electronic Arts
- Rachel Franklin, the general manager of The Sims Studio at EA
- Rick Thompson, the chairman of Signia Ventures
- Chris DeWolfe, the chief executive of SGN
- Phil Sanderson, a game-savvy partner at IDG Ventures
- Peter Levin, the president of interactive ventures and games at Lionsgate, the film studio that made The Hunger Games and Divergent
- Mike Gallagher, the president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association
- Jens Begemann, the chief executive of German social mobile game publisher Wooga
- Mitch Lasky, a general partner at Benchmark and an investor in Riot Games and Natural Motion
- John Riccitiello, a gaming investor and the former CEO of Electronic Arts
- Evan Hirsch, the founder of Engine Co. No. 4 (talking about seeing signs of trouble in game studios)
- Tim Chang, the managing director at the Mayfield Fund
Our advisers include:
- Brock Pierce, the managing director of the Clearstone Global Fund
- Eric Goldberg, the managing director of Crossover Technologies
- Michael Chang, the managing director of Mavent Partners
- Tim Chang, managing director at Mayfield Fund
We’ll roll out a steady drumbeat of speakers as we get closer to the event. We expect to have about 100 speakers.
Each year, GamesBeat follows a big trend. In 2009, we focused on how “All The World’s a Game” with the explosion of games on the global stage. In 2010, GamesBeat@GDC focused on “Disruption 2.0.” In 2011, our theme was “Mobile Games Level Up,” focusing on the busy intersection of games and mobile technology. In 2012, we explored the “Crossover Era,” defined by the time when so many big game companies and startups were transforming themselves by expanding from one market to the next. Last year, we talked about the “Battle Royale” as barriers between the different industry segments came down. Now, in the bid for Total World Domination, the competition to become the biggest global gaming company is wide open.
As game companies adapt to change, we’re witnessing disruption, change, consolidation, innovation, and the arrival of big money. Billions of dollars are at stake. Last year, more than 550 notables from throughout the game industry — social, mobile, online, PC, and console — attended the event. Please join us.
This year, we’ll see the return of our contest for the best gaming startup. The attention that these startups get for speaking onstage and winning the event is invaluable. An all-star panel of judges will pick the most promising game startup, based on freshness, innovation, and potential for business success. The top nominees will appear onstage, and the judges will pick the winner at the event.
We are still exploring our subthemes for the event and welcome your suggestions. If you’d like to sponsor, please send an email to email@example.com.
Here’s what a couple of game-industry leaders said about last year’s event:
“Thanks for the contributions GamesBeat has made for this industry.” –Bing Gordon, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
“It’s really refreshing listening to the cutting-edge innovation that is happening in the industry. I’m learning so much by being here.” –– Mike Gallagher, the president of the Entertainment Software Association
Thanks to the following industry leaders for supporting GamesBeat 2014: NativeX as Corporate Partner; Tapjoy and SupersonicAds as Gold Partner; TrialPay, InMobi, and TapSense as Silver Partners; SponsorPay, LifeStreet Media, SGN, and Personagraph as Event Partners; and Nudge as Nest Partner.